by Ndumiso Ndlela (@ndundlela) A few days after watching a film that might be referred to as one of the most-successful superhero movies of the 21st century, the feelings of euphoria, jubilation, and excitement I felt pre- and post-watching Black Panther were immediately replaced by longing and being homesick for a place I’d only seen on the big screen — I missed Wakanda! I longed for this utopia of technology, innovation, and the peak of black excellence.
Having watched the two-hour-long feature during opening weekend, by the next Thursday my post-Wakanda depression had reached a critical stage. Symptoms included a deep feeling of sadness and losing interest in activities such as changing gears on my manual car or filling up the petrol tank because, honestly, I wished I could have a Vibranium-powered car that’s faster than the Gautrain. My appetite changed and I wanted the overpriced Woolies creamed spinach included in my lunchbox to be replaced by the heart-shaped herb that may only be found in Wakanda. I began begun arriving late for work as I started sleeping in a little longer in the hopes that my dreams would transport me back to the kingdom. I even changed my usual foetal sleeping position to arms crossed over the chest like a true Wakandan son!
But I knew I had to speak to someone when I barked at an elderly white couple who tried to squeeze their Woolies trolley into an already packed elevator in a Johannesburg shopping mall, or when I blocked my girlfriend from talking to me during a Champions League game by raising my Basotho blanket in the air and imagining it emitting force fields that also block noise.
During working hours, I found myself daydreaming about an advertising agency in Wakanda called “Djalia” in reference to the spiritual journey that links the real world to the spirit one. Here, all the tribes work together creating mind-blowing, world-class campaigns driven by innovation. Princess Shuri is the youngest and brightest executive creative director. A few of the Dora Milaje (Wakanda’s royal guard headed by General Okoye) are the best production crew in Wakanda, with a string of award-winning commercials and films that have been created by the all-female team.
Some of the Hatut Zeraze (Wakandan secret police) are not just fierce warriors but their writing skills are unmatched in all of Wakanda. With their being stationed all over the world to keep an eye on political unrest, they conceal their cover by being underpaid copywriters. And even though their talent shines often, outside of Wakanda, they’re never promoted to management positions at most of the top agencies. The Border Tribe occasionally arrive at inter-agency brainstorming sessions riding their battle rhinos with their colourful Basotho blankets. And the mining tribe responsible for the mining of Vibranium in Wakanda runs the finance department and all budget approvals go through them.
The advertising industry in Wakanda is reflective of the technological advancements of the nation: ideas are new and fresh and nothing is too big. If you can imagine it, it’s possible. Campaigns are real and authentic and truly defiant of stereotypes.
When I snap back to reality and look around, I’m a little less sad because I’m one of the fortunate few surrounded by young, black creatives and thinkers every day. From management to a junior writer, I’m represented. We’re our own version of Wakanda, trying to share our thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world.
Our true Vibranium
The symptoms of my post-Wakanda depression have reduced significantly with time, as the realisation that our true Vibranium, as citizens of Wakanda scattered across the globe, exists in our ideas, our stories, and our united voice to drive transformation where change is needed.
Ndumiso Ndlela (@ndundlela) is a storyteller at heart, a lover of cinema, an inspiring documentary filmmaker and a digital content creator. As head of digital for DNA Brand Architects, his passion is to help brands navigate the digital landscape and creating ground-breaking, innovative and award-winning content.
“Motive” is a by-invitation-only column on MarkLives.com. Contributors are picked by the editors but generally don’t form part of our regular columnist lineup, unless the topic is off-column.
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